'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Saturday 24 August 2013

Guest Post: Children's Books Daily

KBR warmly welcomes friend and fellow literature lover, Megan Daley, with this guest post on the evolution of her fabulous website. 

I am mother to two small and slightly feral children, a judge for the Queensland Literary Awards, former National Vice President of the Children’s Book Council of Australia, a teacher librarian at St Aidan’s Anglican Girls School and a blogger! Because I’m really bad at being bored, I am also completing my Masters in Teacher Librarianship through QUT.

I started blogging about two years ago now, in what was a truly tumultuous time in my life. I wasn’t sleeping very much and my dear friend Tom De Spiegelaere of www.mangomatter.com decided that a blog would be a good way to fill the wee hours of the night, and keep all my reviews in the one spot.

I’d been writing articles and reviewing books all over the place for a long time. I was extremely reluctant to add another blog to the plethora already out there – but Tom quelled those fears. Tom is of the opinion that whilst there are a large number of blogs, if you find a niche and stay true to your aims and your writing style, there is always a readership to be found.

So, Children’s Books Daily was born. The site is a children’s/YA literature blog with a particular focus on connecting teachers, parents and librarians with great books for children – whether they be babies or young adults. It's a place where those who treasure children’s books and reading with children, can be a part of a community.

In Children's Books Daily, I really wanted to create a site that included information and tips on fitting daily reading with children into your life, in a way that makes it enjoyable for all. I also wanted to offer guidance on defining, choosing, and finding quality children’s books.

The site also features reviews of children’s books old and new, suggestions for children’s books as gifts, reading activities to do in a home, school or library situation and tips on dealing effectively with the challenges that sometimes arise when children are learning to read.

I had planned to blog for three months, which was until the end of my maternity leave, but here I am two years later and slightly addicted. I’ve really tried to create an online community of children’s/young adult literature lovers, and have experts in their field who are regular guest bloggers: fellow teacher librarians, a guidance officer, director of infants' music program ‘Hush Little Baby’, and even a dentist.

Having been involved in the Children’s Book Council of Australia for many years now, I know many literary types, and love featuring the authors, illustrators and publishers I know on my blog. I have met the nicest people online! Okay, so some of them I’ve never actually met in the flesh … but all of them have been incredibly supportive, amuse me no end and who knows … I may meet them in the flesh one day!

I blog because I believe passionately in the importance of literature in the lives of our children. I will never tire of espousing the joy I feel for children’s/YA books; my poor students at school roll their eyes when I jump up and down with excitement about my FAVOURITE book. It is well known amongst them that I have a new favourite book every week.

I can’t help it; after all these years in the industry I continue to be floored by the talent of writers and illustrators of children’s literature. Just when I think there can possibly never be a better written book – up pops another! The creators of children’s books (authors, illustrators, editors, publishers) are amazing people, and without them, life would be a most boring place indeed. 

Beautiful literature has the ability to change lives, and favourite childhood books remain in the heart of a reader always. A love of reading is one of the most important gifts we can give a child.

I was fortunate to grow up in a house filled with books and my mother is also a teacher librarian (we’re starting a dynasty). However there are many houses sadly short on books, which is where a teacher, family member or librarian can have an enormous and positive impact in creating a lifelong reader.

It just takes one loved book to ignite that spark. Whatever might happen in the life of a child – there will always be literature to reflect their life journey, beautiful words they can connect with, and characters to befriend.

We should never underestimate the impact we can have in creating a child who adores reading.

Click the logo to be transported to Children's Books Daily.